Need Help? (410) 625-9409

Race Equity

PJC Anti-Racism Vision

The Public Justice Center envisions a just society where Black, Latine, Indigenous, Asian, and other historically exploited people are free from systems of oppression, exploitation, and all expressions of discrimination. This will shift power and resources to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and other people of color) across Maryland.

We envision that our organization is actively anti-racist and perpetually learns and applies anti-racist principles to our internal work and our advocacy as we partner with our clients and communities in pursuit of liberation.

Finally, we envision the individuals within our organization are liberated themselves, and we recognize that all liberation (our own, our clients’, our communities’) is intertwined.

PJC Anti-Racism Mission

To end oppression and dismantle racist systems and institutions that perpetuate oppression in any form, including white supremacy, both internally at the PJC and externally in our broader communities, by dedicating funds, time, and staff to follow through with these commitments.

PJC strives to be anti-racist, and there’s a long road ahead.

To our clients, our partners and our general community, we commit to:

  1. Partnering with organizations and funders with anti-racist values, and calling out (or in) partners who express anti-Blackness or racism;
  2. Developing authentic, non-transactional relationships with Black-led organizations and institutions;
  3. Soliciting and incorporating feedback from our clients, partners, and the broader community about our approach, our work, our interactions, and our outcomes. We will use this feedback to:
    1. identify which systemic changes our clients want us to help advance; and
    2. better our client interactions to ensure we’re useful partners and assistants.
  4. Advancing and initiating efforts to achieve justice for all people in contact with the legal system, and which challenge white supremacy in the legal profession and justice system, by:
    1. taking cases which attack white supremacist and racist systems and defaults;
    2. incorporating an anti-racist analysis in our work;
    3. advancing race-equity arguments in our cases; and
    4. taking small and big actions as part of our anti-racism work.
  5. Building solidarity by joining our clients and community for moments of joy, and not just responding to crisis.
  6. Implementing community lawyering practices.

The Public Justice Center (PJC) is offering two (2) law clerk/legal internship opportunities to law students during the summer of 2022. Each intern will work with all of the PJC’s project teams as needed. The PJC’s projects include (1) Workplace Justice (wage-theft litigation on behalf of low-wage workers and worker-related policy advocacy), (2) Education Stability (advocating for students experiencing homelessness and unlawful disciplinary practices), (3) Health and Benefits (protecting and expanding Medicaid and other public benefits), (4) Human Right to Housing (protecting and expanding tenants’ rights to safe, habitable, affordable, and non-discriminatory housing), (5) the National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel (assisting local advocates with litigation and legislation to expand the right to counsel), (6) Prisoners’ Rights (focusing on pretrial justice reform and health care in Baltimore jail), and (7) Appellate Advocacy (advancing law reform through appeals and amicus briefs). For more information on each project team works visit our website: www.publicjustice.org.

Hiring Criteria

We are looking for interns who are committed to working toward racial equity and economic justice and willing to learn and contribute to our mission. Ideal candidates will demonstrate a background and/or interest in one or more of the following: public interest law/poverty law, domestic or international human rights law, and community organizing or community economic development. They will also have legal research and writing skills, attention to detail, the ability to manage multiple responsibilities, and the ability to work with a class- and race-diverse constituency. Spanish proficiency or fluency is favored but not required.

COVID-19 Information

While we hope and fully expect COVID-19 to have dissipated by the summer of 2022, if that is not the case, then we we will consider a remote working option.  Otherwise, the position will be for in-office work. 

Applications

Applications should be submitted as soon as possible to be assured of consideration, but applications will be accepted and interviews conducted on a rolling basis until the position is filled. To apply, please submit, by email only the following documents:

Please send applications to Matt Hill, hillm@publicjustice.org with “Summer Law Clerk” in the subject line.

Equal Opportunity

The Public Justice Center is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer that encourages all interested persons to apply regardless of race, color, national origin, ancestry, ethnicity, citizenship, creed, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, transgender status, age, religion, genetic information, physical or mental disability, marital status, or any other legally protected status. We strongly encourage Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and other applicants of color, people with disabilities, and other people historically underrepresented in the practice of law to apply.

Physical/Mental Demands and Office Environment

The physical/mental demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable qualified individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

As a member of the Fair Development Roundtable (formerly the Baltimore Housing Roundtable), we advocate for Baltimore City to invest in neighborhood-driven development that doesn’t price residents out. We are advocating with the Affordable Housing Trust Fund Commission to ensure that funds are directed to residents who have the greatest need and neighborhoods that have faced decades of racial segregation and redlining, fueling plans for community-oriented development. In particular, we hope that these funds will fuel development of community land trusts (CLT). A CLT keeps properties affordable and in the hands of the community by holding onto the land permanently and only allowing people with low incomes to buy or rent.

Impact

Co-wrote the Fair Development Roundtable’s report, Community + Land + Trust: Tools for Development Without Displacement. The report details how Baltimore’s development policies have failed to create affordable housing and good paying jobs for low-income residents and offers an alternative vision that prioritizes human rights and human needs.

Together with co-counsel, represented five residents and organizations in a complaint against Baltimore County for decades of policies that have reinforced racial segregation and had disparate impact on people with disabilities. The complaint resulted in a settlement that will provide 1,000 new units of affordable housing in communities of opportunity in the County and assist 2,000 County residents who have vouchers in moving to communities of opportunity.

Worked in coalition to pass a ballot initiative that established an Affordable Housing Trust Fund in Baltimore City.

Negotiated an agreement with Baltimore City and passed legislation committing the City to allocate between $15 and $20 million annually over five years to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

Contributed to the Fair Development Roundtable’s report, Fair Development, Race Equity and Baltimore’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund. The report provides proposals for how money in the trust fund should be allocated, outlining criteria for housing development such as permanent affordability, race equity, employment of Baltimore residents, environmental sustainability, participation of neighborhood residents, and accessibility.

Every child should have access to an education. But school district practices often keep kids from attending and succeeding in school. Overuse of suspension and expulsion pushes kids out of school without addressing the underlying causes of behavior. Paperwork requirements, zoning policies, fees, school uniform rules, and transportation policies make it hard for students who are homeless or in foster care to enroll and attend classes.

The Public Justice Center’s Education Stability Project seeks to advance racial equity in public education by combatting the overuse of practices like suspension, expulsion, and school-based arrest that disproportionately target Black and brown children and push students out of school. We also seek to eliminate barriers to school enrollment and success facing homeless children and children in foster care. We use a range of legal and advocacy tools to improve the systems that educate Maryland’s youth.

In particular, the Education Stability Project:

Addresses practices that push students out of school, including suspension, expulsion, transfers to alternative school, and school-based arrest. These practices can prevent or discourage young people from staying on track to complete their education and harm youth of color at a higher rate than their white peers. As the lead member of the Maryland Suspension Representation Project, we take on these challenges through individual representation in suspension and expulsion cases, know-your-rights education for youth and parents, and systemic advocacy.

Advocates to ensure that children who are homeless or in foster care can stay in school, by enforcing the McKinney-Vento Act and Fostering Connections Act across Maryland. These laws give homeless students and students in foster care the right to stay in school and receive the support needed for their success. This support includes the opportunity to stay in the same school following an address change, school transportation, waiver of school fees, guarantee of immediate enrollment without paperwork, and many other rights.

If you are looking for legal assistance, call us at (410) 625-9409 or visit our Get Legal Help pages for more information on school suspensions and expulsions and students who are homeless or in foster care.

Impact

PJC advocacy prompts reform of Baltimore County school discipline policy

Seniors graduate after challenging unnecessary suspensions

Tackled, arrested, suspended…for trying to call for a ride home: Advocacy reverses inappropriate suspension, prompts training of school staff